Yes, I am still alive and I sincerely apologize for being away for so long once again, but I have a lot of things planned for this website soon and I’m hoping to become more regular at posting again.
Anyway, It’s that time of the month where we get into the mind of Caleb Alexander through his poetry, but today’s poetry post is going to be a little bit different. Now we all know and love poetry that Caleb writes, which is why we have a poetry post here every month, but he has decided to switch some things up and try out a few new ideas. I’ve been lucky enough to get some behind the scenes info on this project he’s working on and was also lucky enough to hear a few of his pieces before everybody else, so once he released it for you all to hear we thought it was only right that I talk to you guys a little bit about it. All of Caleb’s social media/contact information will be linked at the bottom of this post along with where you can find his material!
So without me blabbing anymore I’m going to hop right on into a little bit about C.A. Alexanders new adventures in SPOKEN WORD POETRY!
Like I mentioned previously, we know Mr. Alexander has been writing poems for a while and has even been kind enough to share them with us on here, but I wanted to know about why and how he decided to take the leap into the spoken word realm of the poetry art form, so that’s exactly where we started. When I asked Caleb this question though, I asked him about his “switch” from written to spoken poetry and he was sure to tell me this isn’t a “switch” but more of an addition. He’s going to continue submitting written work to magazines and writing short instagram poems, but he’s always had a love for music and spoken word and he thought he’d give it a go to allow a for a different approach on his poetry.
A few of you might be confused as to what exactly spoken word poetry is or what exactly Caleb is trying to create, so I asked him to explain it to me as if he had to tell somebody about his work without being able to have them listen to it.
“I would say I am trying to make poetry interesting for a world that doesn’t give many shits about poetry that isn’t cliche haikus (no offense to those that like cliche haikus, I love Tyler Knot Gregson’s instagram). I’ve added music that tries to fit a certain mood that I’m trying to get across with the content, and I’ve tried to emphasize with my voice (which is notoriously monotone most of the time) at certain points for the most effect.”
So obviously this idea of spoken word poetry isn’t completely new, but his whole vibe and sound is something I’d never heard in spoken word before, so I was really curious if anybody was creating anything close to what Caleb is aiming for and who he inspirations are. As far as Caleb knows there isn’t much spoken word poetry that is trying to embrace a grunge sound. He’s heard some that have more of a hip-hop feel and even some with an ambient vibe, but he likes to think that what he is doing is something a little different. When it comes to the inspiration behind all of these creations there are many places he looks to. I’ll let his words guide you through all of his inspirations.
“The first person I heard do something similar was Levi the Poet. He did an entire concept album called Correspondence (A Fiction) that is amazing, and I don’t think I can ever make something that amazing. The other inspirations are all over. There is this weird band called Dntel that has some strange synths; there is The Postal Service, there is LIstener; there is Modest Mouse; there is Archers of Loaf; there is Kendrick Lamar’s newest album To Pimp a Butterfly and how jazzy it is; there is EDM like Odezza or Flume. I listen to everything, and I expect everything to find it’s way in. As far as the writing itself, it’s not entirely biographical, but I am definitely a heavily confessional poet.”
So now that you have an idea of what he’s creating and who his inspirations are, let’s get into his process of creating. Since he’s just getting into the venture of starting this spoken word poetry his creative process is ever evolving as of right now. When Caleb first began he was just messing around on garage band with his phone and recording his voice through his factory headphones, so you can imagine the sound and quality wasn’t the best. Although the quality wasn’t amazing this gave him the push he needed to know what he was about to create might actually be worth pursuing. This led him to buying a pretty decent USB Microphone and rerecording the piece he had done on his phone. Caleb starts off by recording his voice and then creates the music around the sound of his voice. Of course he goes back and tweaks and rerecords until he gets the perfect mix of everything.
As Caleb started this journey, I was one of the first to hear what he was producing and I realized a few of the spoken word/musical poetry he had sent me to get feedback on had already appeared on this blog in written form, so this led me to ask if all of his poetry would end up in spoken/musical form or if he would be creating new pieces specifically for spoken word. Caleb responded by saying that essentially it’s a bit of a mix. Some of the poetry he has already written works perfectly for the vibes he is trying to create through this new creation, but he is writing poems specifically for this new project. Since I mentioned it, let’s get into that a little.
Many of you might have seen through his instagram, that Caleb has started recording these poems specifically for an EP he is hoping to release in the near future. So far the man has recorded about 10 poems and is hoping to have around 25-30 before narrowing it down to 5 or 6 for the EP. As of now he has what he would describe as a “sarcastically poppy” single. I’ll go ahead and link that single —-> https://caalexander.bandcamp.com/releases <—- GO CHECK IT OUT! I really enjoy this one myself and would highly recommend a listen. While he describes this single as a bit poppy he’s hoping to rear towards a more grungy feel for the EP. In his words he going for,
“Some weirder songs that aren’t always as palatable. Ultimately I think I’m going for an indie/grunge sound, but I expect it to develop as I get better at the production side of it.”
While we’re on the subject of the EP, let’s take a dive into exactly what he’s trying to create. Caleb’s current plan is to release a 5-6 song EP on April 14th and he has two songs that are finished and ready to go right this moment. He’ll be releasing his work on Bandcamp (WHICH MEANS IT WILL BE FREE!!!) and he’s also working on getting a Spotify release set up and ready to work through.
Of course this new adventure has been somewhat challenging for Caleb mostly due to the fact that he’s learning on the fly, but this is a bit of a trial for him so he was definitely expecting the challenge and to learn even more along the way. All in all Caleb is just trying to create and have fun in the process. He has no huge hopes of blowing up and becoming mainstream tunes because that just seems a bit delusional to him, but he is hoping that his music/poems make an impact on whoever does listen to them, and from my experience I can tell you they do just that. In the end Caleb is just extremely excited to be creating and thinks everybody should find a creative outlet for themselves.
I’d like to greatly thank Caleb Alexander for allowing me the first insight on his new journey and for always pushing me to do my best with my creative outlets. I’ll go ahead and leave you all with some of his words of wisdom.
“I think everyone needs to find a creative outlet. It’s so fulfilling to get completely lost in something you become passionate about. It’s [creating the EP] almost all I have been thinking about lately. It’s hard to focus at work. It’s hard to focus on grad school. (don’t worry anyone, I can manage my time). My point is that I hope everyone can find something they are that passionate about. I’ve never been that passionate about watching Netflix (even though I do love a good Netflix sesh). The only thing that surpasses this for me is love, and nature. Go make something guys, get an adult coloring book, make your own beats, learn an instrument, take a pottery class, finger-paint, whatever. ” -Caleb Alexander